Things We Love

 

Our Book List (a bit o’ everything)

Built To Sell – Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You (by John Warrillow) Don’t think you need this book only if you’re planning on selling your business. I have no intentions of selling my business and the information in this book was very valuable. The book is really about how to create value in a business that’s separate from you, the owner. If you want to sell your business, it has excellent advice supported by the author’s own experiences.  It’s also a great read. It’s told as a story which keeps your interest and helps to really solidify the points. In fact, the story-telling technique itself is great lesson to learn from this book as well. If you’re familiar with the E-Myth and are ready to (or have started to) implement the principles, then get this book. You’ll be glad you did.

Confessions of an Advertising Man (by David Ogilvy). This book is a bit dated, but the truths in it are timeless. The principles they used then to become insanely successful are the same ones that are taught today. And it’s so interesting to see them applied in an older generation with a completely different culture and values. *Sniff* Makes me miss the good ‘ol days!

Seductive Interaction Design (by Stephen Anderson). This book could be titled “The Science of Fun,” but his title is much more interesting. It’s targeted for web interface designers, usability designers, and others in the web/graphic arts field, but it should be read by business owners and marketing people. His research and ideas are fresh and fascinating. I’m getting oodles of ideas on how to implement his principles for cool and effective print marketing.

The Official Get Rich Guide to Information Marketing: Build a Million Dollar Business with 12 Months (by Dan Kennedy, Bill Glazer, Robert Skrob). We specialize in helping info-marketers create their products. But we also think info-marketing is an awesome business opportunity that anyone can get into. This is the best book to learn what it is and how to get into it.

Six Ways To Keep the Little In Your Girl (by Dana Gresh). I understand the power of marketing and the influence it has on people, that’s why I want to teach my 7-year-old how to not sell her soul to this culture. If you have a 6-10 year old girl, you need to get this book. By the time she’s 11, it’s too late.

Shepherding a Child’s Heart (by Ted Tripp). Because our kids didn’t come with instruction manuals. This is an intense book and taking me a while to get through it.

100 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People (by Susan Weinschenk). An easy to read reference to help understand how design influences people.

No B.S. Price Strategy (by Dan Kennedy and Jason Marrs). We have this in the break room and read it during lunch breaks. Yes, we’re THAT dedicated to learning about what makes businesses successful.

No B.S. Wealth Attraction for Entrepreneurs (by Dan Kennedy). Clearly, we like all his No. B.S. books. Except when I had to explain to my 7 -year-old this morning what B.S. means, and why there is a picture on the cover of a bull pooping. Thanks, Dan.

Mark of the Lion Series (by Francine Rivers). Compelling and fascinating historical fiction. Be prepared to abandon all of your responsibilities until you finish reading these books because you won’t be able to put them down.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (by Mo Willems). This is for the kids, but we love all the books by this author. He’s so funny. I was cracking up reading it to my daughter. His Knuffle Bunny books are great too.

Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables (by Phil Vischer). Remember Veggie Tales? Phil is the guy who created them. And this book tells of the rise and fall of Veggie Tales. How can such an amazingly successful idea and company crash so hard? It’s in this book. Phil is a superbly talented storyteller. His telling of his own story is absolutely fascinating and inspiring. A must-read for the ambitious, driven entrepreneur.

47 Beavers on the Big Blue Sea (by Phil Vischer). This is Phil’s comeback. He’s on to new stories and he’s better than ever. This a rhyming book, but it’s advanced rhyming so you need some musical talent here. Practice it before you read it to your kids or else they will reject you. Luckily, it comes with a CD of Phil reading it and singing it, and it’s SO MUCH FUN! I know, I’m such a nerd. I just love great kid’s books. They inspire imagination and creativity.

The Four-Hour Work Week (by Tim Ferris). Reading this book won’t get you working 4 hours a week, but it will change your perspective on life and work, and re-focus your priorities for the better.

 

Our Food List (yummy things)

Medium Rare Restaurant (Washington D.C., two locations) There is a popular restaurant in Paris called Entrecote that serves one entre: Culotte Steak (hanger steak) and French Fries–yup, the real deal. You also get a loaf of yummy rustic bread with salted butter, and a delicious garden salad with an amazing dressing. The steak comes with a special cognac sauce that goes great with the fries too (and honestly, I feel a bit gauche asking for ketchup). You have a choice of about 5 wines and 5 desserts. Sounds weird but it’s a really fabulous dining experience. I love the simplicity and the food is really very delicious. The first time we went there, my jaw dropped at a very unexpected surprise as we were finishing our meal. I won’t ruin it for you. But tell me if you go there and are just as pleasantly surprised. Finally, make sure you visit the bathroom. You will be wooed by French/English one-liners and pick-up lines–Vat iz ze parfum you are wearing? Vous avez un petit ami? Do you have a boyfriend? I have a hot tub at my house. Ooh la la!

Trader Joes’ Frozen Pizza. This is hands-down the best frozen pizza ever. Even my 7-year-old was highly impressed and commented on how good it was. We especially love the Vegetarian Pizza. Make sure you get the ones that say “Made in Italy.” It’s amazing to me that they can get a such a yummy pizza all the way here from Italy, and sell it for 4 bucks.

Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownies. This is a brownie mix and we get it in bulk at Costco. It is perfection in every aspect: perfect chewiness, not too fudge-y, not too cake-y. Perfect crispness at the edges. Deep, semi-sweet dark chocolate taste, which is how chocolate should always be consumed. Big chocolate chip pieces. And, it’s so easy to make, my 7-year-old now makes them (except for the put-in-the-oven part, of course).

Tazo Zen Green Tea. We’ve tried lots and lots of green teas. Mighty Leaf Tropical used to be the best, but it got to be too fruity. Tazo Zen is the right blend of true green tea and other very subtle flavors that make it perfect for drinking hot or iced. We’re amazed that it brews in 5 minutes flat. We’re especially excited that they now sell the big iced tea bags. I sweeten the iced version slightly with Agave Nectar. My toddler loves it and it’s the perfect alternative to water or juice for him.

Peet’s Coffee. My coffee-snob cousin introduced me to Peet’s and now it’s the only brand I’ll buy now. If you like your coffee strong with lots of flavor, you’ll love Peet’s. I get the house blend and love it. Peet’s has coffee shops on the west coast (where my cousin lives). If you join me in buying more Peet’s, maybe they’ll come out here too. (Update: they’re finally here! Thanks for buying their coffee.)

Sharffen-Berger Chocolate. Founded by a doctor and a winemaker, this is a highly addictive and highly delicious chocolate. They have a fancy production method using original, antique-style chocolate-making equipment. Hershey bought them out in 2005, but as far as I can tell, it’s still the most awesome chocolate. We usually keep a big block of it (get the 62% chocolate) and put it in the break room for when we need a zing of energy, happiness, and creativity. For the perfect cuppa hot chocolate, get their cocoa powder and mix with hot milk or soy milk and sweeten to your taste. You’ll curse the day you ever allowed Swiss Miss in your pantry.

 

And Other Things

iPhone. A great productivity tool and complaining-kid-calming-device. Being able to sync your calendars and schedules has surely prevented countless marital fights over unmet expectations and forgotten birthdays and anniversaries.

Christmastown at Busch Gardens. A fun place to for a quick get away around the holidays. The hotels are really affordable, and we love the Christmas lights and decorations of historic Williamsburg. The park is so lit up, that it is visible from the Space Station in space. No, really. One of the guys who works there told me that.

 

Things You Love

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Category: Useful Cool Fun